Water Well Drilling Information


House Bill 177 Water Well Amendments passed the 2022 legislative session. This bill updated Section 73-2-1 of the Utah Code, which gives the State Engineer authority to make rules for the construction of wells and the licensing of well drillers. This section was updated by the passage of HB177 to require the State Engineer to regulate all water wells regardless of depth (Prior to this, water wells 30-feet deep or less were exempt from licensing/construction regulation). The changes to this section of statute went into effect on May 10, 2022. In order to accommodate this statute change, the administrative rules for wells (R655-4 UAC) were revised and became effective on July 22, 2022. Essentially, the exemption for the regulation of construction of wells 30 feet deep or less was removed from the Rules in order to allow the State Engineer to regulate all water wells. Therefore, shallow water wells, and regulated activities associated with shallow water wells, must now be completed by a licensed driller or licensed shallow water well constructor and the administrative and construction requirements in R655-4 followed. It is important to note that none of the revisions described above change one way or the other the need to have a valid water right in place up front in order to construct a shallow well and beneficially use the groundwater from that well. This has always been the case and will not change with these revisions.


  • A shallow water well owner must have a valid water right to beneficially use groundwater from a shallow water well prior to well construction. Beneficial uses can include domestic, irrigation, and stockwater among others. This requirement is not new and has always been in place since the inception of Utah water right law. See FAQ#3 on the Division's home page for an example of the process to obtain a water right. A Start Card is issued upon approval of the water right, which is essentially the permit to construct the well.
  • Shallow water wells must be constructed by a licensed well driller or licensed shallow water well constructor. See the License and Registration link of the left side of this page for forms and instructions for obtaining a license. A shallow water well constructor cannot construct or work on water wells deeper than 30 feet. A well owner can drill their own shallow water well if they have a valid water right and obtain a shallow water well constructor license.
  • Licensees shall obtain the start card (proof of authorization to construct a well) from the well owner, and then file it with the Division before constructing or working on a shallow water well in accordance with the Rules.
  • After completion of regulated well activity (e.g., construction, renovation, deepening, abonnement, and pump work), the licensee shall submit a log (e.g., well log, pump log, abandonment log as applicable) to the Division detailing the work performed on the well.
  • The licensee shall follow the construction requirements for shallow water wells found in Section R655-4-17 of the Rules, which sets forth requirements focused on the safety and protection of the public and groundwater resource.
In the State of Utah, wells regulated by the State Engineer must be constructed by a currently licensed Well Driller (shallow water wells can also be drilled by a licensed shallow water well constructor). Moreover, a Utah Licensed Well Driller or a Utah Licensed Pump Installer must perform installation and repair of pumps on wells regulated by the State Engineer (A person who installs or repairs a well pump on the person's own property for the person's own use is not required to have a pump installer's license). Likewise, non-production wells deeper than 30 feet are also regulated by the State Engineer.

The State Engineer, through the Division of Water Rights, is responsible for well and pump licensing and well construction rules and regulations. Specifically, the drilling, construction, deepening, repair, renovation, replacement, cleaning, development, abandonment, and pump installation/repair of the following well types are regulated by the Administrative Rules for Wells (R655-4 UAC) and the applicable work must be completed by a licensed water well driller or licensed pump installer:

  • Water production wells including public supply, domestic, stockwater, irrigation, industrial/commercial, recharge/recover, and open-loop heat exchange wells.
  • Non-production wells greater than 30 feet deep including, but not limited to, test wells, monitoring wells, cathodic protection wells, piezometers, closed-loop heat exchange wells, inclinometers, and dewatering wells.

Click here to view the Water Well Handbook

The Handbook includes the Administrative Rules for Water Wells, well-related statute, and other important well information. This version of the Administrative Rules for Water Wells has been in effect since July of 2022. The purpose of these Rules is to assist in the orderly development of underground water, insure minimum well construction standards, prevent pollution of aquifers, and to obtain accurate records of regulated well activities.

By law, well driller reports (Well Logs) and pump installation reports (Pump Logs), must be submitted to the State Engineer on any work on regulated wells. All data relating to these reports are recorded in the Division of Water Right's well drilling database and are available for viewing over the Internet or in person at the Division's Salt Lake Office. Information recorded on the reports includes lithology or geologic strata penetrated during the drilling process, the location of water bearing strata, static and pumping water levels, pump data, water quality and all materials and procedures used in the construction of the well.

This webpage also provides links (left side of page) to other important well-related information.


Introduction and Objectives

During each renewal cycle, licensed well drillers are required to earn at least twelve (12) continuing education credits by attending training sessions or participating in ongoing education sponsored or approved by the state engineer in order to renew their well driller's license (Note: only nine (9) credits are required for the transition cycle in 2005). Participation in on-going education allows drillers to stay informed of regulatory, industry, and technological advances. Combining field experience with continuing education enhances a driller's knowledge and abilities. The primary objectives of the Utah Driller CE program are:

  • Increase protection of groundwater resources
  • Increase compliance to well drilling rules
  • Develop a minimum level of confidence among water well contractors
  • Increase protection of the well owner
  • Increase public confidence in the contractor
Additional Resources:

Utah CE Requirements

The following is a summary of CE program requirements in accordance with the well drilling rules.

  • Licensed well drillers must earn twelve (12) CE credits during a 2-year licensing cycle in order to renew their license for the next licensing cycle.
  • One (1) hour of training or education will equal one (1) CE credit, unless otherwise designated specifically by the State Engineer. This requirement also applies to education taken out of state.
  • One (1) credit will also be assigned to training courses that do not last at least one (1) hour (e.g., a 45 minute class will still be assigned one (1) CE credit)
  • During a licensing cycle, the twelve (12) required CE credits must consist of credits earned from at least two separate classes or topics
  • Licensed drillers must complete a State Engineer-sponsored "Administrative Rules for Well Drillers" review course or take-home review worksheet once every four (4) years.
  • A licensed driller who teaches a CE course will receive credit on a 3:1 ratio up to five credits for every hour of training. For example, if a driller teaches a one hour course, he will receive three CE credits for his effort
  • CE credits cannot be carried over from one licensing period to another
  • CE courses must be approved by the State Engineer based on recommendations by a State Engineer-assigned Continuing Education Advisory Committee (CEAC).
  • Well drillers are responsible for obtaining and maintaining the necessary documentation for each course attended and submitting the documentation with their license renewal application at the end of each licensing cycle.

CE Credit Approval Process

The State Engineer approves training courses appropriate for CE credit based on recommendations from the CEAC. The State Engineer's office maintains a list of approved courses. This list will be updated regularly as course information is furnished to the State Engineer's office. This list can be accessed by clicking on the Education Schedule button on this page.

It is up to the driller to decide what, when, and where to take the appropriate training. Training/education courses should relate to occupational health and safety, business and office skills, interpersonal skills, technical aspects of the drilling industry, or other subjects that will enhance business, technical, or regulatory knowledge, skills, and abilities. A driller can look for training from members of professional associations, government agencies, private businesses, or individuals. A driller can choose from the attached list of courses, however, a driller is not limited to taking the courses that are on that list. Drillers can look for training opportunities in trade magazines, training flyers, or brochures, advertisements in newspapers or mail, and courses offered at universities. Course work can be pre-approved by the State Engineer so that a driller will know if credit will be granted for a class not on the approved list. Or a driller may choose to take the course first and then ask for CE credit approval, however, there is no guarantee that the course will be approved. The following is a list of topics that relate to well drilling that would be applicable to the CE program. This list is by no means comprehensive and is for information purposes only.

Well Drilling-Related Education Topics

Rule Understanding
Water Rights Process
Geologic Principles
Groundwater Principles 
Cuttings Identification and Description 
Map Reading and GPS Use 
Water Right Web Site Use 
Aquifer Testing 
Well Disinfection Issues 
Well Rehabilitation Issues 
Water Quality and Geochemistry 
Surface Seals 
Groundwater Contamination
Drinking Water Rules
Reg. & Local Water Issues/Requirements 
Reg. and Local Hydrogeology 
Well Abandonment 
New Technology 
OSHA Certifications
MSHA Certifications
First Aid/CPR

Drilling Muds 
Pump Systems 
Bits, Drill Pipe, Collars, Stabilizers 
Screens and Perforations 
Horizontal Drilling 
MW Construction & Environmental Regulation 
Contracting & Business Issues 
Client Relationships 
Geophysics & TVing 
Water Treatment Technology 
Rig Maintenance 
Well Maintenance 
Water Quality Sampling & Analysis 
Well Development 
Blue Stakes Training

Requesting Approval for a Training Course

It is a good idea to ask about course approval before taking the class if it is not already on the approved list. There is a form for drillers to use when asking the CEAC to evaluate a course they wish to attend. A driller is asked to provide information on the course content, instructors, and course length. The form, called the "Provider/Course Approval Form," is attached with this overview and should be used by the driller when submitting a course to be evaluated.

An instructor or provider may also ask for State Engineer's prior approval of a course. It would be useful to publicize that information when advertising the course. The same attached evaluation form can be utilized when making this request.

Obtaining, Maintaining, and Submitting Training Records

In order to receive credit for a course, the driller must obtain a record of course completion and attendance from the course instructor/provider. This proof of attendance can consist of certificates, transcripts, diplomas, and attendance rosters. If a course provider does not offer this type of documentation, the driller may use the attached "Documentation Form" as proof of class completion. If this form is used, it must be completed entirely and be signed or stamped by the instructor/provider.

It is the responsibility of the licensed driller to keep track of education records. Licensed drillers must provide these proof documents at the time of renewal application. To allow the driller and State Engineer's office to better track credits during the renewal period, the "Credit Summary Form" should be completed and submitted with the proof documents with the renewal application.

Special Conditions and Appeals

Drillers who do not renew their licenses, but who intend to renew within a 24 month period after lapsing are also required to earn twelve CE credits each cycle.

A driller may appeal the decision of the State Engineer to disallow a course approval or credits. An appeal must be made in writing and directed to the State Engineer. The CEAC and State Engineer will evaluate appeals and hold a hearing if necessary on a case by case basis.

Drillers who were not able to get the required continuing education credits because of a hardship situation may apply for an extension of time in which to acquire the required credits. The CEAC and State Engineer will review the merits of each situation and make a recommendation on whether or not the extension should be granted. Hardship claims must also be made in writing and directed to the State Engineer.

For More Information

Questions regarding the Utah Driller CE program can be directed to Jim Goddard (801-538-7314) or Liz Payne (801-538-7416). These same individuals can also be contacted with any questions or clarifications regarding the CE program requirements. Any written correspondence related to the CE program should be routed to the attention of Jim Goddard and can be faxed to 801-538-7467 or sent to Utah Division of Water Rights, PO Box 146300, SLC, UT 84114-6300.